Family Law Forms

I. Washington State Court Forms (alphabetical A-Z)

A. Adoption

Please note that Adoption forms are not available on the Washington State Courts web site. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) provides information for those looking into adoption. DSHS provides the following information:

Laws that pertain to adoption are in the Revised Code of Washington Title 26, Chapter 33. (RCW 26.33). Rules are found in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC 388-27).

B. Child Support

Adjust Child Support Order

These forms will help you ask the judge to change the amount of your child support. If you provide enough evidence to support a change, the judge will issue a new Child Support Order.

Child Support Worksheets & WSCSS Schedule

The Washington State Child Support Schedule works like an income tax table. The court figures out each parent’s income, adds it together, and finds the amount of support on the Schedule that applies to the number and ages of your children. This amount is the “basic support obligation.”

This schedule makes sure

      • children get enough support to meet their needs
      • parents across Washington with similar incomes pay or get similar amounts of support

The custodial parent (the parent caring for the child(ren) the majority of the time) is meeting her/his basic support obligation by having custody. The other parent makes a child support “transfer” (payment) to the custodial parent.

Petition to Modify Child Support

These forms will help you ask the judge to change the amount of your child support. If you provide enough evidence to support a change, the judge will issue a new Child Support Order.

Temporary Family Law Order – Child Support (Divorce)

I have started a divorce or legal separation case. It will take some time to complete. I need to have child support set up immediately. What can I do?

Temporary Family Law Order – Child Support (Unmarried parents)

I have started a parentage case I have a child and I am not married to the other parent. It will take some time to complete. I need to have child support immediately. What can I do?

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)

Forms are in the process of being developed. Check back soon.

Washington State Self-Support Reserve

Washington State Courts use the self-support reserve to calculate low income limitations when setting child support. The self-support reserve is 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.

 

Former amount from
1/22/15 through 1/24/16

New amount
as of 1/25/16

Self-Support Reserve

$1,226

$1,238

If you have any questions, please contact Merrie Gough at merrie.gough@courts.wa.gov or at (360) 357-2128.

C. Ending the Marriage

Convert Legal Separation to Divorce (Dissolution)

After obtaining a legal separation, either spouse can convert a decree of legal separation into a divorce decree after waiting six months after the judge has signed the decree of legal separation.

Contempt of Court: Violations

Contempt is the intentional disobedience of a court order. These forms are for Contempt of Court: Parenting Plan, Child Support or Spousal Maintenance Violations Divorce (Dissolution).

Default

I started a divorce case (or any other family law case). My spouse has not responded to the papers. I want to complete the case and finalize the divorce. What can I do?

If the other spouse never responds to the Petition for Divorce (Dissolution) by filing response papers, default allows you to finish your case. You should file a Motion for Default with the clerk of the superior court. Schedule a court hearing and ask the judge or court commissioner to sign an Order on Motion for Default granting the default.

After the Order on Motion for Default is signed and after 90 days have passed since the petition was filed and served, the judge or commissioner can sign the Final Divorce Order (Dissolution Decree), or final orders in another family law action.

Divorce (Dissolution)

Dissolution is the legal word in the state of Washington for Divorce. General Information and Instructions about Ending Your Marriage (from WashingtonLawHelp).

Immediate Restraining Order

I have started a case. The other party has threatened my safety. What can I do?

Important: If there is an emergency, contact law enforcement at 911, or the local number for the police or sheriff.

In a family law case, you can ask the court for a domestic violence Order for Protection or an Order for Protection – Unlawful Harassment. For immediate protection, contact the clerk of the court for more information. You can ask the court for a Restraining Order. You can also ask the court to prohibit weapons and to order your spouse or ex-spouse to surrender weapons to the police or sheriff.

A court may grant an Immediate Restraining Order (Ex Parte) the same day as the request is made, even without notice to the other spouse, if necessary to provide safety. The court may grant a Temporary Family Law Order and Restraining Order after a hearing, with notice to the other party, and the orders can stay in effect until your divorce case is final (at which time the restraining order can be extended).

Invalidate (Annul) Marriage

An “annulment” is the popular name for what Washington law officially calls a “Declaration Concerning Validity” of marriage. It is a way for the courts to cancel a marriage if they find that one of the requirements of a legal marriage was not actually present at the time the couple was married.

If either spouse, or the guardian of an incompetent spouse, or in some cases, the legal spouse or child of either spouse wants to ask the court to declare that the marriage is invalid, then the person requesting the declaration should file a Petition for Declaration Concerning Validity. This petition is similar to asking the court for an annulment. Washington State does not enter an Annulment rather a Declaration Concerning Validity.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is like divorce; the judge enters orders for all the same issues as in a divorce, including parenting plan, child support, and property/debt division.

However, with a decree of legal separation, your marriage does not end. Neither party can legally remarry unless you first convert the separation decree to a divorce decree. The Social Security Administration does not recognize a decree of legal separation in figuring out benefits. Most people choose legal separation instead of divorce for religious reasons.

Either spouse can convert a decree of legal separation into a divorce decree after waiting six months after the judge has signed the decree of legal separation. Convert Legal Separation to Divorce (Dissolution).

Temporary Order to Pay Spousal Support (Maintenance/Alimony)

I have started a divorce or legal separation case. It will take some time to complete. I need to have spousal support (maintenance/alimony) paid immediately. What can I do?

D. Juvenile Court Forms

Child in Need of Services (CHINS)/At-Risk Youth (ARY)

Child in Need of Services (CHINS):

Purpose:  To obtain a court order mandating temporary placement (for up to six months) of the child in a residence other than the home of his/her parent because:  a serious conflict exists between the parent and child that cannot be resolved by delivery of services to the family during continued placement of the child in the parental home, and reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the need for removal of the child from the parental home.

Definition:  A child in need of services is defined by statute as a child under the age of 18 who meets at least one of the following three requirements:

  • Is beyond parental control such that the child’s behavior endangers the health, safety, or welfare of the child or other person; OR
  • Has been reported to law enforcement as absent without consent for at least 24 consecutive hours from the parent’s home, a crisis residential center, an out-of-home placement, or a court-ordered placement on two or more separate occasions and has exhibited a serious substance abuse problem or behaviors that create a serious risk of hard to the health, safety, or welfare of the child or any other person; OR
  • Is in need of necessary services, including food, shelter health care, clothing, educational, or services designed to maintain or reunite the family and lacks access to or has declined to utilize these services, and whose parents have evidenced continuing but unsuccessful efforts to maintain the family structure or are unable or unwilling to continue efforts to maintain the family structure.

Who May File:  A child, parent, or DSHS may file a CHINS petition.  A “parent” is defined as the person(s) having legal right to custody of the child and includes custodian or guardian.

*Upon a filing of a CHINS petition, the child may be temporarily placed, if not already placed, by DSHS in a crisis residential center, foster family home, licensed group home facility, or any other suitable residence to be determined by the Court and DSHS, including relative placement.

At-Risk Youth (ARY):

Purpose: To obtain assistance and support from the juvenile court in maintaining the care, custody and control of the child and to assist in the resolution of family conflict, after alternatives to court intervention have been attempted.

Definition:  An at-risk youth is defined by statute as a child under the age of 18 who meets at least one of the following three requirements:

  • Is absent from home for at least 72 consecutive hours without parental consent; or
  • Is beyond parental control such that his/her behavior endangers the health, safety, or welfare of the child or any other person; or
  • Has a substance abuse problem for which there are no pending criminal charges relating to the substance abuse.

Who May File:  Only the parent of the child may file the ARY petition.  “Parent” is defined as the person(s) having legal right to custody of the child and includes custodian or guardian.

*The ARY proceeding is a voluntary process and a parent may request a dismissal at any time.

Dependency Proceedings – Mandatory Pattern Forms

Generally, the government does not interfere in family matters.  However, the law allows the state to step in to protect a child from harm within the family in a procedure known as a dependency action.

A dependency action is started by filing a petition (a written request) in Juvenile Court.  The petition must allege that the child is “dependent.”  A “dependent child” is a child who:

  • Has been abandoned by his or her parent, guardian, or other custodian;
  • Has been abused or neglected by a person legally responsible for his or her care; or
  • Has no parent, guardian, or custodian capable of providing adequate care.

Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 13.34 is the law that covers juvenile dependency actions.

Emancipation

If you are a resident of Washington and are at least 16, but not yet 18, and you want to be legally considered an adult, you can use these forms to ask the court to order that you be emancipated (legally declared an adult).

Guardianship: Title 13 RCW Guardianship

Guardianships as defined in RCW 13.36  Guardianship are a permanent plan that allows for and supports a continuing relationship between the parent and child, while providing permanency, safety, and well-being for the child with a legal guardian until he or she reaches the age of 18.

Juvenile Court Forms

Download the Juvenile Court Forms by clicking here.

If you have any questions or comments about the forms, please feel free to contact Merrie Gough at (360) 357-2128, at (360) 357-2127 fax, or at merrie.gough@courts.wa.gov.

Miscellaneous – including Mandatory Pattern Forms

Notice of Hearing, Declaration, Subpoena, Motion and Order for Change of Judge, etc.

Out-Of-Home Placement – Mandatory Pattern Forms

One of the following must exist to constitute legal authority for out-of-home placement:

  1. Police hold.
  2. Court order, including a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) petition. RCW 13.34.050
  3. Hospital/Medical Administrator/Physician Hold. RCW 26.44.056
  4. Voluntary placement of children with the family’s decision to place the child outside the home per 4307 Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) policy.

Shelter Care Proceedings – Mandatory Pattern Forms

The state can step in to protect a child from harm within the family in a court procedure called a “dependency action.”  Filing a petition (written request) starts the case in Juvenile Court.  The petition claims the child is “dependent.”  A “dependent child”

      • has been abandoned by his/her parent/guardian/other custodian OR

      • has been abused or neglected by the person legally responsible for the child’s care OR

      • has no parent/guardian/custodian able to take good care of the child, so there is a danger of serious damage to the child’s psychological/physical development

Shelter Care – 72-Hour Hearing: If CPS removes your child from your home, there must be a “shelter care hearing” within 72 hours of the removal.  If CPS does not take the child, there must be a hearing within 72 hours of filing the dependency petition. 
At the 72-hour hearing, the court decides both:

      • whether CPS should have taken the child

      • whether it is safe for the child to return to (or stay in) the home

*It is very rare for the court to dismiss a case at a 72-hour hearing.

If the child is to stay out of your home, the court decides where the child will live until there can be a later, more in-depth hearing.  The court will ask DSHS what they have done to try to place the child with a relative.  The court also decides:

      • if it should allow visitation

      • what social services the parents should get

      • if medical, mental health, or drug/alcohol evaluations are needed

*The focus is on protecting the child and offering the parents services to help them.

The court cannot order you to take exams, be evaluated, or use services. You have to agree to those. The court can remove your child if you do not agree.

Shelter Care – 30-Day Hearing – Case Conference: The court will hold a second hearing 30 days after the 72-hour hearing to see if the situation has changed.  CPS cannot place your child in shelter care for more than 30 days without a court order.
There may also be a case conference after the 30-day hearing.  They must offer you a case conference unless

      • you do not want one OR

      • you did not go to the 72-hour hearing 

At the case conference, you will meet with your lawyer, the CPS social worker, and anyone else involved in the dependency case.  You will talk about

      • the service plan

      • whether/how you can settle the case

      • anything else that would help the case move forward in a positive direction

Termination and Reinstatement of Parent-Child Relationship – Mandatory Pattern Forms

In cases of serious abuse or neglect, the court may end, or “terminate,” a parent’s rights to the child. The parent no longer has any rights or responsibilities. This frees the child for adoption.

Truancy

All children in Washington state have a constitutionally guaranteed right to an education. They are also legally required to attend school. A state law, called the “Becca Bill,” requires children between 8 and 18 to attend public school regularly, with few exceptions. The Becca Bill also requires schools and parents to make sure children attend school. Students and parents can face serious consequences if a student has too many unexcused absences. Students can be referred to juvenile court and ordered to serve time in juvenile detention. Parents can be fined.

E. Move with Children (Relocation)

Final Order Changing Parenting Plan – No Objection to Moving with Children

I am the relocating person and no one filed an Objection to the intended relocation during the time for objection or I have proof that no one will file an Objection. I want the court to permit the move and to enter my proposed parenting plan. What forms do I use?

Notice of Intent to Move with Children (Relocation)

If you have legal custody of your child, and you wish to move (relocate) and take the child with you, Washington State law may require you to do certain things first.

Objection about Moving with Children (Relocation) (Objecting Party)

I have a court order giving me a legal right to spend time with children. I want to object to the other parent or non-parent custodian’s move with children. What forms do I use?

Temporary Order Allowing Move with Children

I intend to move with children. The other parent or non-parent custodian with a court order giving them a legal right to spend time with children filed an Objection. I want to ask the court for a temporary order permitting the move with children. What forms do I use?

Temporary Order Preventing Move with Children

I am the objecting to the move with children. I want to ask the court for a temporary order preventing the move with children (relocation) or requiring the return of the children. What forms do I use?

F. Non-Parent Custody

Non-Parent Custody

A non-parent custody petition is a court case brought by a person who is not the parent (the non-parent), asking for legal custody of the child (or children) named in the court case. The person who files the case is the Petitioner.

G. Parenting Plan/Residential Schedule

Appointing a Guardian Ad Litem

I have started a divorce, non-parent custody or parentage case. I need to ask the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem to investigate parenting arrangements on behalf of my children. What can I do?

Motion for Temporary Family Law Order – Parenting Plan (divorce)

I have started a divorce or legal separation case. It will take some time to complete. I need to have a Parenting Plan set up immediately. What can I do?

Petition to Change a Parenting Plan/Residential Schedule

Use these forms if you want to change a final court order that sets out where your child lives and with whom s/he visits. This order might be a Custody Decree or Order, Residential Schedule, or Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan may be between you and an ex-spouse, ex-boyfriend or -girlfriend, or someone else who has been taking care of the child, such as another relative.

Temporary Non-Parent Custody Order – Temporary custody of the children

I have started a non-parent custody case. It will take some time to complete. I need to have temporary custody of the children decided immediately. What can I do?

H. Unmarried Parents

Contempt of Court: Violations

Contempt is the intentional disobedience of a court order. These forms are for Contempt of Court: Parenting Plan/Residential Schedule or Child Support Violations (Unmarried Parents).

Immediate Restraining Order

I have started a case. The other party has threatened my safety. What can I do?

Important: If there is an emergency, contact law enforcement at 911, or the local number for the police or sheriff.

In a family law case, you can ask the court for a domestic violence Order for Protection or an Order for Protection – Unlawful Harassment. For immediate protection, contact the clerk of the court for more information. You can ask the court for a Restraining Order. You can also ask the court to prohibit weapons and to order the other party/ies to surrender weapons to the police or sheriff.

A court may grant an Immediate Restraining Order (Ex Parte) the same day as the request is made, even without notice to the other party/ies, if necessary to provide safety. The court may grant a Temporary Family Law Order and Restraining Order after a hearing, with notice to the other party, and the orders can stay in effect until your case is final (at which time the restraining order can be extended).

Parentage (Unmarried Parents) –– Petition for a Parenting Plan / Residential Schedule and/or Child Support with Paternity Acknowledgment or Final Parentage Order

A parentage action is a court action to establish the paternity of your child. A parentage action also establishes legal rights between the parents and the child. If the parents are no longer living together, the court may also enter orders to establish child support and a parenting plan/residential schedule.

An acknowledged father or mother may file a petition to ask the court for a residential schedule/parenting plan or child support order four years or more after the Acknowledgment of Paternity they signed was filed with the Washington State Registrar of Vital Statistics.  Either parent may also file this petition more than 60 days but less than four years after the acknowledgment was filed if the petitioning party specifically states (alleges) certain facts that are in section 5 of the petition.

Petition to Decide Parentage when there is no Adjudicated Father or Acknowledgment of Paternity Filed with the Washington State Registrar of Vital Statistics

These forms will help you fill out and file the forms and papers you need if you are not married to or in a domestic relationship with your child’s other parent, AND you want to file a court case to decide your child’s parentage, AND:

  1. There is no Paternity Affidavit or Acknowledgement establishing your child’s parentage OR your child’s Washington State Paternity Affidavit was signed before July 1, 1997 AND
  2. There is no court order in any state establishing your child’s parentage.

Request Parenting Plan Within 2 Years of Parentage Judgment

These forms will help you if:

  • the parentage (paternity) of your child has already been established by court order in the past two years AND
  • you want a Washington court to enter a parenting plan or child support court order AND
  • your proposed parenting plan does not change custody (who the child lives with most of the time)

II. WashingtonLawHelp Forms (alphabetical A-Z)

A. Adoption

Adoption: This section of WashingtonLawhelp.org has information and resources about adoption in Washington.

B. The Child Protection System

The Child Protection System: This section of WashingtonLawHelp.org has information and resources about the child protection system in Washington state. Notable packets include the following:

Child Protective Services (CPS) and Dependency Actions

When someone reports child abuse or neglect, CPS must investigate. If there is an immediate danger of harm to the child, CPS must start an investigation within 24 hours of getting the report. If there is no immediate danger of harm, CPS has up to 90 days.

Know Your Rights When CPS Comes Knocking

The intent of this report is to help domestic violence survivors understand what their rights are in the initial stages of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, and to know what Washington State’s policy is regarding domestic violence and CPS.

What Are My Rights? Dealing with DSHS

This publication lists services available by DSHS and your rights when dealing with this state agency.

C. Child Support

Child Support: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and self-help packets about child support in Washington state. Notable packets include the following:

Child Support Basics: Twelve (12) Packets, including:

How Can I Collect Child Support?

This publication provides information on how the Division of Child Support (DCS), whose services are free, can help you set and collect child support. There is a locator service to help find parents who owe support. DCS can help you set child support even if the other parent of your children does not live in the state.

Do You Owe Child Support?

This publication provides general information about how child support is set and your obligation to pay child support.

Changing Your Child Support Order

This publication can give you a basic understanding of the laws that apply to changing a Washington State Child Support court order or responding to a proposed change. This information is presented as a list of frequently asked questions.

Asking DCS to Review Your Child Support Order for Modification

If you have a child support order that DCS is enforcing, you have a few options for getting it modified. This packet explains how to ask DCS to review your order to see if modification is appropriate in your case.

Child Support Quick Estimator & Calculator for Washington State

Figure out a quick estimate or use the calculator to help you create a set of Washington State Child Support Schedule Worksheets. Worksheets are required when you are involved in the entry of a child support order.

Child Support Adjustment Packets: Two (2) Packets:

Filing a Motion to Adjust a Child Support Order: This packet will help you ask the court to change the child support amount. If you make this motion and give the court enough evidence to support a change, the judge will grant the motion and issue an Order on Motion to Adjust Child Support Order. You may only file this motion in limited cases. Read the instructions carefully to determine if this is the right packet for you.

Responding to a Motion to Adjust Your Child Support Court Order: Use this packet only if you have gotten papers asking the court to adjust (change) your child support court order by motion in superior court. This packet will help you file your response to the motion for adjustment, ask the court for what you want, and prepare for your hearing.

Child Support Modification Packets: Three (3) Packets:

Filing a Petition to Modify Your Child Support Court Order

This packet will help you fill out the paperwork to ask the judge to change the amount of your child support. If you provide enough evidence to support a change, the judge will issue a new Child Support Order. However, before you use this packet, and assuming you have concluded that filing a petition for modification of child support is what you want to do, you should check with your county’s Family Law Facilitator or Court Clerk to see if your county has its own Petition for Modification of a Child Support order packet: a local packet may be easier for you to use because it will include the rules and forms for that county.

Finalizing a Modification of Your Child Support Court Order

This packet will help you finalize a petition to modify your Washington State child support court order. Use this packet only if you or the other party has already filed a Petition to Modify Child Support Order. You can use this packet whether you filed or responded to the petition.

Responding to a Petition to Modify Your Child Support Court Order

This packet will help you fill out and file the forms and papers you need to respond to a Petition to Modify Child Support Order.Do not use this packet if you are served with a petition to modify an administrative child support order. If you are served with a petition asking a Washington Court to modify a support order from another state, talk to a lawyer before using this packet. This packet does not discuss any issues with a support order from another state.

D. Contempt of Court

Contempt of Court: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and self-help packets about contempt of court in Washington state. Notable packets include the following:

Contempt of Court in Family Law Cases: The Basics

This publication has general information about Washington law on contempt in family law cases. It covers only the type of contempt most common to family law cases, called “coercive civil contempt.” The main goal is to have a person who is violating a court order obey that order in the future.

Filing a Motion for Contempt: Family Law Cases

This packet should help you fill out and file the forms and papers you need if you already have a temporary or permanent parenting plan, child support order, or other family law order AND you want the court in the same Washington county to issue an order holding the other party in contempt for violating it.

Responding to a Motion for Contempt: Family Law Cases

This packet is intended to help you fill out and file court forms if you have been served with a Motion or Petition for Contempt for violating a temporary or permanent parenting plan/residential schedule, a child support order, or other family law order.

Family Law: How to Get a Continuance of Your Hearing

Basic information on how to request to move your court hearing to another date in a family law case.

E. Divorce

Divorce: Below you will find general information publications, self-help packets and interactive interviews about divorce in Washington state. If you are preparing your own divorce paperwork, view the Get Started – Divorce Resources page. There are several helpful packets, some of the more notable ones are as follows:

Ending Your Marriage or Domestic Partnership in Washington With Children: The Basics

This publication is about the laws that apply when you want to end your marriage or domestic partnership in Washington. Use this publication

      • to file for divorce or to end your domestic partnership (petitioners)

      • if you have been served with divorce papers (respondents)

This publication is lengthy and detailed. If you just need general information about divorce, see the publication Divorce: General Info. After reading this publication, you can use one of the do-it-yourself packets. They have forms and instructions for filing or responding to a Petition for Divorce or to End Domestic Partnership.

Ending Your Marriage or Domestic Partnership in Washington Without Children: The Basics

This publication should help you learn about the laws that apply when you want to end your marriage or your domestic partnership in Washington and you have no children. Generally, we call the court process divorce if you are married or dissolution if you are domestic partners.”

*State law about marriage and divorce also applies to marriages between same-sex couples. Lamda Legal has a good publication discussing this called Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Washington.

This publication is for people who want to file for divorce or to end a domestic partnership (petitioner) and people who have been served with divorce or petition to end domestic partnership papers (respondent).

Divorce: General Info

Information about getting divorced in Washington state. For more detailed information, see one of the other publications listed above (Ending Your Marriage in Washington: With or Without Children).

F. Do-It Yourself Family Law Packets

Do-It Yourself Family Law Packets: This section of WashingtonLawhelp.org is a complete listing of all of the DIY family packets offered on this web site. Use the menu of categories under “Legal Information” to filter resources by type of family law case.

G. Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general legal information and self-help resources about domestic violence issues in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Domestic Violence: Can the Legal System Help Protect Me?

This publication defines domestic violence, advises how you can protect yourself and your family by getting a protection order or restraining order, and provides information on where to get help.

Protection Order Advocacy Program

Information about when and how to get a protection order.

Domestic Violence Order for Protection – Self-Help Forms

Answer the questions in this guided interview and it will assembled the necessary forms and instructions for you to file a Petition for Domestic Violence Protection Order in Washington State. This interview is part of LawHelp Interactive. LawHelp Interactive helps you fill out legal forms, answer a series of questions and print your legal form.

Filing for a Domestic Violence Protection Order

Important information about what a protection order is and why you might need one. Read this publication before filing forms for a protection order.

Domestic Violence and Your Housing Rights

Free legal information and self-help materials that provide information about non criminal legal problems affecting low-income people in Washington state.

H. Guardianship

Guardianship: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general legal information and resources about guardianships in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Alternatives to Guardianships for Adults

When a person has significant problems managing financial affairs or personal care, guardianship may be considered. Guardianship should be viewed as an option of last resort, however, because it can be costly (involves going to court) and it deprives an adult of very significant personal rights. This publication provides general information about alternatives to guardianship.

How to Modify or Terminate a Guardianship

Under Washington law, anyone can request the court under which the guardianship was established to terminate the guardianship, modify the guardian’s duties, or have the guardian removed or replaced with another guardian.

Managing Someone Else’s Money

A set of four guides for financial caregivers—government fiduciaries, agents under power of attorney, guardians of property and trustees —to help them understand their duties, and how to prevent and respond to financial exploitation.

Questions and Answers on Guardianship

A guardian is a person appointed by a court to manage the affairs of a person who is incapacitated. This publication provides general information about how and when a guardian should be appointed.

Protecting Elders and Vulnerable Adults from Abuse and Neglect

The law protects frail elders and vulnerable adults. This publication discusses different types of abuse that these individuals are protected from under the law.

I. Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality: In this subtopic area you will find resources about marriage equality in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Washington: Immigration Considerations

On November 6, 2012, Washington voters approved Referendum 74, which enables same-sex couples to be married under Washington state law. This document addresses issues relevant to same-sex couples where one or both partners are not U.S. citizens, as their marriage may have an impact on their immigration status.

Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Washington State

Beginning in December 2012, same-sex couples can marry in Washington. This document is intended to provide general information about marriage for same-sex couples in Washington.

Marriage, Medicare and Medicaid: What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know

Married same-sex couples can get coverage under the same Medicare and Medicaid rules as married opposite-sex couples in all states.

Parenting Issues for Same-Sex Couples

This memo is about the legal status of same-sex couples with respect to the children they are raising. Washington law provides several ways that same-sex couples with children can legally establish the parental rights of both parents. The law on these issues has changed significantly over the last decade and will probably continue to change.

Same-Sex Couples and Social Security Benefits

You should read this if you are or were married (OR in a registered domestic partnership) with someone of the same sex AND live in Washington.

J. More Family Court Procedures

More Family Court Procedures: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find self-help packets covering additional family court procedures in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

How to File a Motion to Vacate Judgment/Order in a Family Law Case

A Motion To Vacate is a request to the court to withdraw a previous order or judgment it entered.

Family Law: How to Get a Continuance of Your Hearing

Basic information on how to request to move your court hearing to another date in a family law case.

Filing a Motion for Attorneys Fees in a Divorce Case

This packet has the instructions and forms you will need to ask the court to Order your spouse to pay money for you to hire a lawyer. We call this a Motion for Attorney Fees.

Filing a Motion for Change of Venue in a Family Law Case

This packet has the instructions and forms you need to ask the court to move your family law case to a different county. This is called a Motion for Change of Venue. Use this packet if your case is a divorce OR petition to change parenting plan, child support order, or final order entered in a divorce AND the other party filed your case in the wrong county (such as a county where neither party lives), or it would be more convenient for you to finalize your case in a different county.

Filing Fee Waiver

Washington state courts’ General Rule 34 (GR 34) establishes who is eligible for a waiver of the filing fee to begin your civil case and other, mandatory charges. If you cannot pay the filing fee or paying it would be hard for you, you can ask the court to waive (not make you pay) the filing fee by filing a motion.

K. Non-Parents Caring for Children

Non-Parents Caring for Children: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and resources for non-parents caring for children in Washington state. Popular packets and forms include the following:

A Kinship Caregiver’s Guide to Consenting to Health Care

A kinship caregiver is a relative who is taking care of a child but is not the child’s parent. This guide provides a child’s kinship caregiver information about consenting to health care options.

Healthy Ties: The Grandparent’s and Other Relatives Guide to Health Insurance for Children

What you need to know about Medicaid and The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

L. Non-Parent Custody

Non-Parent Custody: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and self-help packets about non-parent custody in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Non-Parent Custody: Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

This publication has general information about two ways under Washington law to get legal custody of a child who is not yours: 1) a non-parent custody petition filed in court under Ch. 26.10 RCW or 2) a Temporary Parental Consent Agreement (in agreed cases only).

Which Court Can Enter Custody Orders? Questions and Answers About Jurisdiction

Determining jurisdiction can be complicated. This publication tries to explain the basics in simple terms. It may still be confusing. Try to speak with a lawyer.

Filing a Non-Parent Custody Case

You may use this packet to file a case in superior court to ask for custody of a child when you are not a parent.

Filing for Non-Parent Custody of an Indian Child in State Court

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a special federal law. It applies to cases where someone other than a parent wants to get custody of an “Indian Child.” This publication has information for people who want to file for custody of an Indian child in Washington State.

Filing for Temporary Non-Parent Custody Orders

Use this packet to ask the court for an order giving you certain rights and/or protections after your case has been filed, but before it is finalized. Either petitioner or respondent may file a motion. The motion can cover issues such as temporary child support, temporary custody, temporary visitation, safety restraints, or custody investigations while the non-parent custody case is pending.

M. Other Family and Related Issues

Other Family and Related Issues: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and resources on various family law issues in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Child Protective Services (CPS) and Dependency Actions

When someone reports child abuse or neglect, CPS must investigate. If there is an immediate danger of harm to the child, CPS must start an investigation within 24 hours of getting the report. If there is no immediate danger of harm, CPS has up to 90 days.

Name Change

In Washington State, if you are eighteen or older, you can choose and use any name you wish, as long as you are not trying to defraud (cheat) someone. Example: it is not legal to change names to avoid creditors or to escape a child support obligation. This publication describes the process.

Mediation – Should I Use It?

Mediation is an informal way to resolve disputes without going to court. The parties attempt to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement with the help of a neutral mediator. Mediation can be used in many types of disputes.

What Happens to My Kids if I am Sick or Die?

If you are a single parent, you may worry who will care for your kids if something happens to you. This publication explains your options. You should also talk to a lawyer.

Getting a Legal Name Change in Washington State: A Guide for Queer, Trans, and Gender Nonconforming People

This packet contains the instructions and forms necessary to change your name in Washington state.

N. Parenting Plans/Residential Time

Parenting Plans/Residential Time: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and self-help packets about parenting plans in Washington state.

Parenting Plans: General Info

This publication provides general information about what a parenting plan is and how to get one. It also explains how to enforce or change a permanent parenting plan.

How to Write a Declaration in a Family Law Case

This packet tells you what a declaration is, what should be included and tips on how to write one. There is a family law declaration and other forms attached that you can fill out.

How to Work With GALs & Parenting Evaluators

If you are involved in a divorce, paternity or nonparental custody case where the other parent does not agree with you, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) or Parenting Evaluator. This publication contains tips to help you work successfully with the GAL.

How Do I “Do Discovery?” Help With Interrogatories and Requests for Production in Family Law Cases

Use this publication if: you are a party in a contested family law case (“contested” means you and the other party disagree about issues) AND you want or need to get more information from the other party about his/her side of the issues.

Filing an Agreed Petition for a Parenting Plan, Residential Schedule or Child Support: Parentage Cases

You may use this packet if you are not married to or in a domestic partnership with your child’s other parent AND your child’s parentage has already been established by paternity affidavit or acknowledgment AND you and the other parent want to ask the court to enter an agreed parenting plan and/or child support court order.

O. Paternity/Parentage

Paternity/Parentage: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and self-help packets about parentage cases in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Options for Unmarried Parents

General Information for parents who have never been married and who want to get court-ordered support, visitation or custody.

Parentage and Parenting Plans for Unmarried Parents in Washington

This publication should help you learn the laws that apply when you have a child and you are not married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the child’s other parent.

How Do I Request a Copy of My Paternity Affidavit?

A Paternity Affidavit (also known as a Paternity Acknowledgment or Acknowledgment of Paternity) is a special form typically used by unmarried parents to state who the father of the child is. This publication gives you instructions on how to get a copy.

Video – Establishing Paternity in Washington State – Acknowledgement Form

Establishing parentage means determining who is the legal parent of a child. This 10 minute video explaining basic questions and answers about paternity.

P. Powers of Attorney & Health Care Directives

Powers of Attorney & Health Care Directives: This section of WashingtonLawHelp.org has several resources to learn about powers of attorney and advance directive documents. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Durable Powers of Attorney Documents

A power of attorney document lets you choose a trusted friend or relative to help you with your finances and/or health care decisions. Forms for you to fill out are provided.

Health Care Directives (or Living Will)

A health care directive lets you state what kind of medical treatments you do or do not wish to have if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. This resource has the form for you to fill out.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Mental Health Advance Directive

This first-of-its-kind advance planning document allows people coping with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to document their wishes about the inevitable challenges related to living with these illnesses. Even if this directive is not legal where you live, you can still use it to document your wishes and provide a guide for your family, health care providers, long-term care providers, and others.

Mental Health Advance Directive

This is an important legal document. It creates an advance directive for mental health treatment. Before signing this document you should know some important facts.

Questions and Answers on Living Wills

A living will is a paper that tells your doctors or others providing your health care when you want them to stop life-sustaining medical treatment and let you die. A health care power of attorney allows someone you appoint to make medical-treatment decisions for you if you are no longer able to make them yourself. This publication contains general information and a Living Will form you may download.

Q. Preparing for Family Court

Preparing for Family Court: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and forms to help you represent yourself in court in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Getting Ready for a Court Hearing or Trial

Tips on how to represent yourself and prepare for a court appearance.

How to Format Court Documents

When you give documents to a Washington state court, it is important to format the documents correctly. This document outlines the rules you must follow.

Getting Your Paperwork Ready So You Can Get Help With Your Family Law Case

Be ready for an appointment with someone who’s going to help you with your family law case. That someone might be: an attorney; a family law facilitator; an advocate at your local Domestic Violence shelter; or a CLEAR advocate who is going over forms with you by phone.

Family Law Cases: Trial Tips

Getting ready for trial can be hard and complicated. This publication can help.

How to Serve the Opposing Party in Your Family Law Case

When you file a family law case, you must make sure that a copy of the petition, summons, and other papers you are filing are delivered to the person you are filing the case against “the other party” in a legally correct way.

R. Relocation

Relocation: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and self-help packets about relocating with children in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Questions and Answers About Washington’s Relocation Law

If you have legal custody of your child, and you wish to move (relocate) and take the child with you, Washington State law may require you to do certain things first. This publication briefly explains the law’s requirements.

Following Washington’s Relocation Law

Use this packet if you have legal custody of your child, and you wish to move (“relocate”) and take the child with you. Under state law, you may have to do certain things before you move. This packet has forms and instructions to help.

Which Court Can Enter Custody Orders? Questions and Answers about Jurisdiction

Determining jurisdiction can be complicated. This publication tries to explain the basics in simple terms. It may still be confusing. Try to speak with a lawyer.

Getting an Ex Parte Order to Move With Your Children

This packet will help you ask for a court order that takes effect right away, with little or no notice to the other parent, that allows you to move with your children.

Objecting When the Other Parent Wants to Move With the Child

If you are a noncustodial parent with the right to time with the child under a parenting plan, you can use this packet to try to stop the custodial parent from moving with your child. If you are a third party with some right to time with the child, you have the right to try to stop any proposed relocation if you believe it would interfere with your relationship with the child.

S. Unmarried Couples

Unmarried Couples: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and self-help packets about family law issues for unmarried couples in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Basic Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples

This memo provides you with some basic background information to get you started on preparing your “estate plan.”

Filing a Complaint to Divide Property and Debts of an Unmarried Couple

This packet will help you fill out and file the forms and papers you need to start a case in a Washington State Superior Court to ask the court to divide property and debts you have acquired during a long term, stable, marriage-like relationship with another adult.

Living Together Contracts

If you are part of a couple in Washington that cannot or chooses not to marry or register with the state as domestic partners, this publication explains how to organize and document your relationship.

Options for Unmarried Couples

General Information for parents who have never been married and who want to get court-ordered support, visitation or custody.

Parentage and Parenting Plans for Unmarried Parents in Washington

This publication should help you learn the laws that apply when you have a child and you are not married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the child’s other parent.

T. Veteran and Military Families

Veteran and Military Families: In this section of WashingtonLawHelp.org you will find general information and resources for military families in Washington state. Popular forms and packets include the following:

Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Families of Service Members

This guide is to help military personnel understand what to expect when returning from a war zone, and to help them to better adapt back to home life. Includes full color photos, stories, and live links! View online or print for handouts.

Video-NJP’s Veterans Project: Legal Help for Veterans in Washington at the Northwest Justice Project

NJP’s Veterans Project provides free legal services to financially eligible low income and homeless veterans for civil (not criminal) legal problems that are barriers to housing, employment, and self-sufficiency. Find out if you qualify.

Divorcing Someone in the Military: Basic Questions and Answers

Service members who are divorcing have additional protections under the law. This publication briefly describes those protections. This publication is for both the service member and the non-service member.

Factsheet- V.A. Payments and Family Support

Information regarding child support and maintenance (alimony) for military personnel.

Military Service and Parenting Plan Modifications

Your Rights in Washington State: Read this if you are a parent of minor children AND serving in the armed forces AND in a court case over parenting plan issues. You should be aware of some laws passed for your benefit in 2009.

III. Other Helpful Resources

Annulment Guide

This guide briefly discusses the concept of annulment as it applies to marriage laws in Washington State. 

Child Support Schedule Calculator

All child support orders entered in Washington must apply the Washington State Child Support Schedule (WSCSS), and Worksheets must be completed and filed in every child support proceeding. To help parties estimate the amount of child support that might be ordered in their own cases, the Division of Child Support (DCS) of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) created the Washington State Child Support Schedule Calculator.

Divorce in Washington Guide

This guide briefly discusses the forms and instructions you will need to use to file for divorce in Washington State.

Family Law Facilitators

The Family Law Facilitator Program at King County Superior Court provides information and referrals to family law litigants who are not represented by attorneys.  Litigants may meet with a facilitator on a walk-in basis (walk-ins are first come, first served, and sign-in will end 30 minutes prior to closing or once capacity is reached) or by pre-scheduled appointment (for document review or if an interpreter is required).  The program operates in the King County Courthouse in Seattle and the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Guardianship Training

To be appointed a guardian of the person and/or estate, or to continue serving as a guardian of the person and/or estate, you are required to learn about or refresh your knowledge of the responsibilities of a guardian and inform the court you understand those responsibilities. Each co-guardian must complete the training individually.

Legal Voice

Legal Voice pursues justice for all women and girls in the Northwest, through ground-breaking litigation, legislative advocacy, and legal rights education.

Military Affidavit – Check Active Duty Status

Simple Dissolution (Divorce) Packet from King County Superior Court

For help finishing agreed divorce and legal separation cases without children.

State Registered Domestic Partnership Information

From the Washington Secretary of State; includes FAQ, forms, and historical information.

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